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Why apples have suddenly become so expensive

November 15, 2018 18:33 IST

Trading for long around Rs 75 a kg in Himachal Pradesh, they have risen in a week to Rs 90 a kg. In Jammu & Kashmir, it has gone from Rs 45 a kg a week before to Rs 55 a kg

Apple prices have seen a jump in a week in both wholesale and retail markets, after supply disruption due to crop damage.

 

Trading for long around Rs 75 a kg in Himachal Pradesh, they have risen in a week to Rs 90 a kg. In Jammu & Kashmir, it has gone from Rs 45 a kg a week before to Rs 55 a kg.

The spike is largely attributed to crop damage in J&K from pre-season winter snowfall while under harvesting.

Snow was also reported in Himachal Pradesh but the matured crop had been harvested.

The standing crop there got damaged in a couple of high-terrain areas.

“Overall damage could be two to three per cent in Himachal Pradesh but much more in J&K. We estimate 10-12 per cent damage across the country due to pre-season snow,” said Ravinder Chauhan, president, Apple Growers Association of India, a Shimla-based body.

However, he does not think prices will rise further.

J&L contributes nearly 80 per cent of India’s overall output. Another 16-17is from Himachal.

Uttarakhand and other states in the north contribute the rest to India’s overall 2.4 million tonnes of annual output.

The Union ministry of agriculture’s Third Advance Estimate forecast output at 2.37 mt for 2017-18, as against 2.29 mt in the second advance estimate and 2.27 mt the previous year.

The area sown this year was estimated at 306,000 hectares this year, marginally above last year.

“After harvesting, apple plants remain dormant for nearly two months. This essentially means they require soil moisture for rejuvenation for the next season.

"In the hills, this is through snowfall. Since this has occurred early this season, plants are expected to receive better soil moisture which will help in germination of flowers and fruits the next season.

"Thus, we can expect more apple output the next season,” said an exporter.

Photograph: Nigel Roddis/Reuters

Dilip Kumar Jha in Mumbai
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